The National Association of Scholars has produced a remarkable study that should be of interest to all
- alumni of Hamilton College
- alumni of all the NESCAC schools or any liberal arts college
- parents of current students
- parents of prospective students
It is a long report and extensively documented. Some of the facts of campus culture are not pleasant, none in dispute. Alumni of Hamilton will find much familiar turf: same stuff, different place.
Bowdoin happens to be the lucky winner of this particular explication. The questions & issues raised in this report warrant broad distribution to all parties at interest, so share it with your friends. It also warrants serious review by Bowdoin’s trustees.
See The Golf Shot Heard Round the Academic World in the Wall Street Journal.
The title of the study is WHAT DOES BOWDOIN TEACH? HOW A CONTEMPORARY LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE SHAPES STUDENTS.
The phenomena is not unique to Bowdoin.
If one were to replace “Bowdoin College” with “Hamilton College” some of the gory details would change (some for the worse) but the substance and findings of the report would in the main still be accurate.
- Dr. Richard Vedder, President of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity
- Dr. Robert Kraynak, Director of the Center for Freedom and Western Civilization at Colgate University and a Senior Fellow of the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization.
- Anne Neal, President of American Council of Trustees and Alumni and Director of the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization
A Speech Too Far from the Pope Center.
See the article Hamilton’s Diversity Problem
“The apparatus has grown so vast and intertwined over the years that the college had to establish a “Diversity Coordinating Council” comprised of the Chief Diversity Officer, the Director of Opportunity Programs and Pathways, the Director of Diversity Recruitment, the Director of the Diversity and Social Justice Project, the Director of the aforementioned Days-Massolo Center, the Associate Dean of Students for Multicultural Affairs, among others.”
See also the posting below.
We are reliably informed that Cornell West was paid $30,000 to speak at Hamilton. We would like to see a transcript of his speech and will publish it if we can.
The following appeared in the Hamilton College Spectator. It seems nothing has changed since the days of the excesses of Kirkland Project, and we recall the adventures of Ward Churchill, Susan Rosenberg et al.
The responses of the President and the administrators evidence the continuing failure of the Trustees to examine in sober manner the politicized culture of Hamilton, within and without the classroom. The scope of ideological hegemony remains well funded, seemingly unchanged. More particularly it seems to be institutionalized in the administration of the budget, either unexamined or approved. In any case the relevant data is inaccessible to outside alumni and from that perspective unaudited by disinterested parties.
The fundemental issue has been renamed, re-branded, fortified, and institutionalized. The Trustees seemingly turn a willful blind eye, again, to a hostility that seems to have been extended from certain faculty members to now include, increasingly, a growing number of students. Dean Reynolds advises the student to “desist from emailing me on this subject further.” President Stewart unsurprisingly concludes there is no problem (how could there be, really?) and that everything is fine. Funny how students think otherwise and so documented it. We reproduce it in whole because in the past things on the Spectator have a habit of disappearing from the view of alumni.
By Dean Ball ‘14
March 7, 2013
Hamilton has a diversity problem, and it’s not the one you’re thinking of. Walk up to any poster display space in Sadove, KJ, Beinecke, or the Science Center. Look for events sponsored officially by the College (the President’s office, the Dean of Students, the Dean of Faculty, the Days-Massolo Center, etc.). Do you notice any similarities?
Perhaps you spot Dr. Wendy Doniger’s upcoming lecture on the “political framework of gender in the Kamasutra,” sponsored by the Dean of Faculty, among other offices. Or perhaps you see Marvin Sterling’s talk on Japanese reggae, paid for by the Days-Massolo Center and the Chief Diversity Office. You might find, much to your chagrin, that you missed Bat Sheva Marcus’ riveting lecture entitled “Exploring Possibilities of Pleasure”. Your eye will no doubt also be drawn to one of the biggest events of the semester: Dr. Cornel West’s lecture for the Voices of Color series. If you’re beginning to see a trend, you just might have put your finger on Hamilton’s latest diversity problem.
Each year, with the multitude of funding sources at its disposal, this college spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring speakers to the Hill. There is no reason why we cannot enjoy the benefits of inviting speakers with a wide range of academic, philosophical, social and political perspectives. And yet there is a remarkable lack of diversity in the lectures this college officially funds.
By my count, Hamilton has officially funded only one right-of-center speaker since the beginning of last semester. For the entire academic year, not one figure whose thinking could reasonably be described as Republican, conservative, libertarian or classically liberal has been invited by the college administration to speak about a political issue on this campus, save one event.
Maybe there’s no one trying to bring right-of-center speakers to campus? The college community does, after all, tend to skew to the left. The Alexander Hamilton Institute (AHI) is an independent organization (of which I am a student leader) in Clinton founded in 2006 by some of Hamilton’s finest professors. One of the reasons behind its formation was the lack of intellectual diversity at Hamilton. Almost every right of center lecture on campus since I came to Hamilton has been sponsored fully or in significant part by the AHI, though we sponsor left of center speakers as well.
Just last semester, we began arrangements to bring Dr. Kenneth Minogue, one of the most lauded political thinkers of our time, to speak about the compatibility of social justice with liberty. Dr. Minogue’s latest book, The Servile Mind, is a critical analysis of modern democracies’ effect on morality; his work is thought-provoking and insightful. It seemed like the perfect time to approach the administration about the lack of diversity among speakers. I believed, as many of you probably do, that college officials would jump at the opportunity to help foster intellectual diversity.
I spoke first to Dean of Faculty Patrick Reynolds, who explained to me that his office did not support student events. That was fine, I told him, but why do so many events credit his office and various student groups as “co-sponsors?” Further, if I were to get a professor’s support–and I had the support of more than one—could I then apply to his office for funding? Dean Reynolds replied that my questions were “not productive,” and asked me to “desist from emailing me on this subject further.” Shocked that a college official would respond so tersely to a few simple questions, I contacted President Stewart’s office for a meeting. Not only did she claim to have no funds at her disposal (not even enough for a small, symbolic gesture), she went so far as to say she couldn’t see a problem with intellectual diversity on campus. Imagine the frustration and surprise I felt when I saw her office (as well as Dean Reynolds’s) listed as a funding sponsor for Dr. West’s lecture.
There are many kinds of diversity, and Hamilton is profoundly fortunate to have the prestige and wealth to foster all of them. On an administrative level, the college is laser-focused on some forms of diversity and entirely blind to others. Why? I wish I had an answer. What I do know, however, is that the student body doesn’t share the administration’s blindness.
The Student Assembly agreed late last semester to fund Dr. Minogue’s lecture in full. He will give his talk in April. But the Student Assembly should not and cannot bear the burden of supporting intellectual diversity on its own, especially when Hamilton’s administration vigorously promotes and funds a seemingly endless range of diversity-based programming. It’s time that the administration and the Hamilton community reflect on what we mean when we use the term “diversity.” Until we do, there is little hope that our campus will ever be truly diverse.
As they say in TV-land, we now return to our normal programming (excerpted below), and one is compelled to wonder to what purpose is it directed?
The Female Orgasm
Ever wanted to know how to make your girlfriend achieve a mind-blowing and toe curling orgasm? Always wondered why guys fake foreplay? Don’t worry—the Womyn’s Center, in partnership with the Emerson Literary Society have you covered. Join us for ninety minutes of astonishing knowledge with Marshall Miller and Dorian Solot, authors of I <3 Female Orgasm, that’s sure to provide a little steam to your dorm room. For more information about the Female Orgasm presentation check out sexualityeducation.com.
We recall the comments of another Hamilton student on the same phenomena, different form:
Keep your eyes out for this: The Bowdoin Project. It will be a detailed and documented study of Bowdoin College’s academic and intellectual life. The final project should be out in April. Hamilton alumni take note.
What is the fallacy of the broken window?
How Universities Devalued Higher Education - on grade inflation.
What are the stats at Hamilton? Is grade inflation an issue? Is grade inflation more prevalent in some disciplines than others, for example in humanities or social sciences vs math & hard sciences?
Applicants, parents & alumni should have an interest.
Word is getting out: How not to waste four years in school
“Why reward quality when you can just redistribute wealth?” - Adam K.
“claims … he told the top two officials in the Human Resources department at a Sept. 10 meeting “that interns were being ‘used’ to work what was essentially ‘slave labor.’”
We are pleased to present the 2012 Annual Report of the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization.
Who would have thought? Five years of success and growth.
Please consider supporting the AHI in your annual gifting or estate planning. Their work, the promotion of civic and economic literacy and the development of programming to promote the study of markets, democracy and freedom, is more important than ever.
The success of the program is marked by the accomplishments of the students who participate in their programs. The AHI is developing the farm team who will assume the mantle of tomorrow’s leaders in traditional scholarship, policy, business, and media.
Our view: Clinton needs to get tougher on illegal drinkers It sounds like neither Opey nor Andy Griffith. No doubt counsellors, therapists, and awareness programs needed in great abundance.
“Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts has banned a Christian group from campus because the group requires student leaders to adhere to “basic biblical truths of Christianity.” The decision to ban the group, called the Tufts Christian Fellowship, was made by officials from the university’s student government, specifically the Tufts Community Union Judiciary…”
Seems Dartmouth has a bit of a problem: College Whistle Blowers Denounce Trustee Conflicts to Government. The letter is to the New Hampshire AG is here.
It’s an interesting read and taken as a whole it sets an example of what & how not to do things in many respects.
Prior disclosure and open information would have pre-empted all of the issues except investment performance here. We stipulate are not fully informed in either regard nor does the letter adaquately address them. That said, disclosure of related party transactions should always be guided by common sense and best practice, and both seem to have been AWOL.
There is nothing like a big hickey, perhaps a loss on the swap position, which may have or may not have made sense at the time, or blow out of a hedge fund, to make investment committees run silent & deep. And people really, really don’t like to lose money.
We’re aware that long term sustained investment performance is the objective and to get it an investor has to assume risk which can make for some short term unpleasantness. Short term performance is easy to mau mau. We’ll leave it to others to raise the issues of investment criteria, independent due diligence & performance.
As they say, “Actual results may vary.”
George Will: Subprime college educations
Is this related to the elimination of merit scholarships and the open curriculum? To funding budgets for programming?
Presented without comment.
Thomas Cheeseman, Hamilton 2012, delivered this speech on April 12 to the 2012 to the Annual Colloquium of the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization. We present the speech below, in full, with the permission of the author and note all copyrights are reserved by the author. We suspect Mr. Roger Kimball found it a formidable act to follow but somehow persevered. Hamilton alumni should read in full and take note. It’s your college…or maybe not.
It is with great pleasure that I come before you tonight to talk about the Alexander Hamilton Institute. When Professor Paquette approached me, this past September, about speaking tonight I had one reaction: I better be able to produce something worth listening to in 7 and a half months. Of course, true to college student form I did not put pen to paper until last week. However, my unwillingness to begin writing this speech had much less to do with procrastination than a profound inability to articulate what the AHI has meant to me.
I can honestly say, without the slightest hesitation, that the AHI has made the most important impact on me of anything that I have experienced in the last 4 years. In order to discuss the importance and necessity of the AHI I would like to bring in a quote fitting for the current climate of the Academy:
“In this condition, mankind generally flatter their own imbecility under the name of politeness. They are persuaded, that the celebrated ardour, generosity, and fortitude, or former ages, bordered on frenzy, or were the mere effects of necessity, on men who had not the means of enjoying their ease, or their pleasure. They congratulate themselves on having escaped the storm which required the exercise of such arduous virtues; and with that vanity which accompanies the human race in their meanest condition, they boast of a scene of affectation, of languor, or of folly, as the standard of human felicity, and as furnishing the properest exercise of a rational nature.”
This is a quote from Adam Ferguson’s An Essay on the History of Civil Society, published in 1767, but rings true today. Hiding behind the mask of tolerance, modern academics push their ideologies and marginalize students who object to biased scholarship. The negative impact of those teachers who deem it their job to teach students what to think, rather than how to think, are only re-enforced by a complicit administration. In one case, a student merely was trying to obtain his papers from a certain constitutional law professor. After several attempts to retrieve his papers, all the while suspecting biased scores being the reason the professor did not wish to return the papers, the student was forced to contact the Dean of Students. The male student explained to the Dean that he suspected biased grading, but primarily was interested in having his graded papers returned to him. In an email accidently forwarded to the student between the Dean and the Professor, the student discovered that the Dean had written to the professor:
“Giving the information he needs, I can then tell him that the discussion is over. He would have the option to discuss with the dept chair, but I try to steer completely clear of that next step. Real reasons for grade disputes are rare and must be compelling (as in there was gross negligence). This is not the case here at all.”
Mind you that at this point the Dean had not received any of the documents necessary to rule on the case and yet the Dean had already decided the outcome of the case. So when the student did eventually receive his papers what did the student discover? The professor, striking out against a paper which showed a defense of a position that might be termed conservative with regards to the original understanding of the establishment clause, had labeled a source the student used as marginal. The professor held that State Constitutions from the time of the founding were marginal documents, and were irrelevant to understanding the word establishment in the Constitution; any historian, right, center or left knows that this is an idiotic statement. In the end nothing was done to redress the grievances of the student or the errors of the professor. What this shows is that a professor, caught in an echo chamber of ideology, can have his viewpoint so utterly warped that evidence is irrelevant to his position. Further, it shows students of a conservative disposition that if they wish to challenge a professor they risk their own grades; indeed many conservative students take this as a cue to remain silent. In a landscape dominated by the sacred cows of tolerance and conformity, where truth is distorted or obfuscated to serve ideological purposes, where students are punished for disagreement, how can there be discourse.
This is precisely why the Alexander Hamilton Institute necessary. Although often caricatured as a right-wing nuthouse by Hamilton professors to students, the AHI serves as a place to discuss ideas. The AHI, unlike think-tanks, accepts all persons of all political stripes to discuss the successes and failures of the West in order to cultivate intelligent and sophisticated positions towards capitalism, democracy, and freedom. Instead of joining the intellectual fad of postmodernism, which relativizes everything and thus undermines the ability of any discussion to occur, the AHI seeks to promote a rigorous examination of western history to understand the crowning achievements of the most prominent civilization in the history of mankind. This rigorous examination of ideas, through the various clubs at the AHI, including the FA Hayek reading group, the Edmund Burke Association, and the Christopher Dawson Society, has not lead conformity; often persons will intensely, but respectfully disagree, in the process discovering the faults in their positions.
The most important feature of the discussions at the AHI is that persons are being educated in the history of the West, where they must confront the empirical reality of philosophical dreams. Whatever one’s positions are, it is uncontestable that the explosion of prosperity in the West occurred simultaneously with the birth of capitalism, that the relationship between faith, reason, and liberty are much more complicated than the ideological positions of the philosophes, that a transcendent standard of morality has long been conceived of as necessary for society, and that a vigilant, manly virtue has long been necessary for the protection of liberties, in a modern age where appeasement, tolerance, and fear have led to crushing totalitarian nightmares. By educating persons in the west’s history, the AHI enables persons to cultivate their knowledge of our cultural endowment. An education in our cultural endowment and the West’s cultural achievements provides a common basis for persons to have real discourse about contemporary moral and economic matters. By engaging our cultural endowment, these more educated citizens can try to eschew their ideological proclivities and apprehend the intimations of society. Instead of engaging in a rationalist, conjectural discourse which promotes ideologies to the status of truth, the AHI’s emphasis on the empirical realities discards sophistry in favor of truth. By using reason, checked by experience and history, persons are forced to confront how their positions have actually played out. For progressives, they must answer why rationalist regulation and control of facets of society should be respected given the unintended consequences of governmental action, which have lead costs estimates to serially understate the impact on budgets and have led to a continued and aggressive encroachment of liberty. For classical liberals and conservatives, they must answer what should be done about real suffering under current inequalities. Thus, in a non-rationalist manner, members debating within the AHI attempt to discover the intimations of society, providing a basis for their appraisal of proposed policy. There are no silver bullets to the current chilling effects created by the academy, but the AHI provides a forum for interested students to have serious discussion where the branches currently exist, and could provide much needed forums at other schools to which the AHI is considering expansion.
In closing I would like to bring attention to a new project being developed by Dr. Christopher Hill. Dr. Hill is working, in association with the other fellows, on a primary and secondary school curriculum which will provide a real education on the history of the West. This curriculum would be posted online and would be easily available to all students. In order to gets this project going support, financial or other, is essential. First, the website must be created and the materials must be gathered. Once the infrastructure has been assembled it will then be necessary for persons to bring this program to the attention of school boards a crossed the country. Instead of paying $85 per textbook for students, which contain reductive accounts of the past and are costly to replace, the AHI curriculum would provide a low cost alternative, where Ph.D. historians are creating the lesson plans and producing short video clips where they lecture about the subject. This project would ensure a higher quality of education and would further the AHI’s goal of educating persons about the West. Accordingly, the better educated citizenry would acknowledge the intimations of society and protect the cultural endowments which have taken us this far.
As my time comes to an end, both in front of this crowd and as an undergraduate, I look forward to the bright future of the AHI and the persons who have made the AHI possible. I’m sure this will be a great conference, hopefully with plenty of disagreement and little esotericism. Now for the most important thing I can do tonight: finish my rambling and let everyone proceed on to the banquet. Thank you very much for listening to me tonight, please feel free to challenge anything I said, and God bless.